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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Verification Forms!

"Okay, let me 'splain. No. That would take too long. Let me sum up." (Yes, another Princess Bride quote)

In this rant I extend grace to all newbie 4H'ers. In your first year the paperwork can be confusing and overwhelming. Adding to the confusion, this year we have projects that are even new to me! So if you are in your first year of 4H, or have one of those "new" projects, you can excuse yourself from this diatribe.

Verification forms are the forms that 4H'ers must fill out before they can compete in the 4H fairs or at the Big E. These forms must be signed by the 4H leader, who is verifying that the children actually worked with those specific animals. The forms give the fair association an idea of how many of what kinds of animals are coming to the fairs. These forms must be in to the Extension center no later than June 1.

I usually start talking about these forms in April. Every email has a reminder about them in it. Every club meeting talks about them. While with some animals there are reasons why you might be delayed in filling out the forms. For example with chickens, the forms request a band number for each bird. If your birds haven't been tested, they have no band number. I have explained to everyone you can put "pending" and the date of your appointment for testing, in those cases. Goats under six months old can also have "pending" in their information.

This year I have not kept track of who I have signed for and who I haven't. I have signed a lot of forms in the last 5 days. I am sure there are kids out there who will be calling me on May 31 wanting me to meet them somewhere in order to sign forms. Unfortunately for them, I won't even be home on the 31st. I try to be accomodating but some of these kids have been in 4H for over 3 years and know how these things work.

If it were only our club, I would blame it on myself. That somehow I was not communicating effectively about these forms. But it seems it is happening in a lot of the 4H clubs. The Extension center has even had to create a "late policy" for those kids who turn in the forms after the June 1st deadline. There is a $10 per animal charge. And that is only until June 14th. After that you are simply out of luck and will be unable to show at 4H fairs or the Big E.

"No more rhyming now, I mean it!"
"Anybody want a peanut?"
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